Once in a while a photographer takes a picture, and when he looks at that picture, he notices the presence of some ghostly figure. Someone who wasn’t in the room at all when the photo was taken. That’s what I had to think of, watching the Belgian contemporary music ensemble Ictus perform Morton Feldman‘s Piano And String Quartet (Kaaitheater, Brussels). On stage with them: Rosas veteran Fumiyo Ikeda. Was it that peculiar piece of music, or her dancing? It seemed as if she was there while not being there at all.
Archive for Brussel
Slowly going to the heart of the matter: Morton Feldman’s ‘Piano and String Quartet’ by Ictus & Fumiyo IkedaPosted in contemporary classical music, contemporary dance, dance, music with tags Brussel, critique, Kaaitheater, recensie, review on February 18, 2017 by Utopia Parkway
Was it because I walked in after sunset? And that the fairytale atmosphere made even a bigger impression on me, in the dark, with just the soft, mysterious light of the lamps? I really had the impression I had ended up in a Brothers Grimm-created landscape, and that the fairytale characters had just left the building. Just some pieces of furniture, nice light, plants and other objects, in an exhibition inspired by a myriad of influences. Do pay a visit to Kenneth Andrew Mroczek‘s Blossom tides, blossom shadows, at Elisa Platteau & Cie Galerie (through January 1), if you happen to be in the centre of Brussels. And preferably after dark. The American, Brussels-based artist has just published a new book (edition of 200) as well, in collaboration with Brussels-based curatorial collective Komplot: Y€$, I see stars, ‘an inquiry into the daily-visual landscape of Brussels and beyond’.
How many people – and works of art – can you get in a tiny art gallery? (‘Vis à vis’, Rossi Contemporary, Brussels)Posted in art with tags Brussel, Bruxelles, Klaus Verschuere, Sarah Westphal on December 7, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
One of the funniest galleries in Brussels is without any doubt that tiny little Rossi Contemporary; somewhat off the beaten track, as it is situated in a shopping mall in the Bascule area. Put ten people in that small space and everyone feels uncomfortable. Besides the gallery there’s an upstairs room in the mall too (the Mezzanine) and Rossi Contemporary uses some advertisement displays in the arcade as well as a Project Space. Now is a good moment to check out this gallery, as it presents three exhibitions (through January 21). Utopia Parkway-favourite Sarah Westphal is showing a couple of pieces at the Mezzanine, Klaus Verschuere is occupying the Project Space and at the gallery you’ll find a nice group show, Vis à vis, with works by some 30 (!) artists, such as Fiona Banner, Sean Edwards, Cildo Meireles and Lawrence Weiner. You really wonder how they managed to get them all on those two walls.
‘La Montagne, c’est la Mer, et la Mer, c’est la Montagne’: mesmerizing new paintings by Thierry De Cordier (Xavier Hufkens)Posted in art with tags Brussel, Bruxelles, Thierry De Cordier, Xavier Hufkens on November 6, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
Oh, how I wish I was working at Xavier Hufkens gallery (Brussels). To be able to look at that magnificent Mer Montée by Thierry De Cordier, every single day? Although: I think in the end it would start to haunt me in my dreams. I’m not a romantic!, is written, as a statement, on the wall of that front room at Hufkens, with that huge painting (oil paint, enamel and chinese ink on canvas, 170 x 270 cm). Anyone spending some time in front of the mesmerizing canvasses of this relatively small show (six paintings and a couple of études; through December 10) will immediately sense that it’s not about romanticism. But just to make himself very clear, the Belgian artist explains: ‘There’s nothing pleasing about a picture that works (otherwise it’s an image or something decorative). Workings, just workings. Not the landscape as such, nor its representation, but just the way it works. To my eyes this is the very essence of painting. Something different from the highly suggestive character of a romantic picture.’ Must-see.
A bunch of people on all fours, hurriedly moving around like mice, hiding behind old furniture. I’m guessing that will be the image that my mind will attach to A Louer, to remember it by. But there are plenty of other possibilities. A statue suddenly coming to life. An opera diva with a voice resembling a hurricane, blowing people away. A guy simply disappearing in a chair. Want to view this negatively? Then you could argue that Belgian theatre company Peeping Tom isn’t really offering anything surprisingly different or new, with A Louer, which premiered at KVS (Brussels). I’ll side with the optimists. Once again they succeed in stopping time for just a short while. Once again they succeed in offering a piece that resembles a spellbinding comic-book: you keep on flipping those pages, wondering what’s going to happen next.
How to lie on a table for hours and pretend you’re dead: Mona Hatoum’s ‘The Negotiating Table’ (Meeting Points 6, Brussels)Posted in art, performance, photography with tags Argos, Brussel, Bruxelles, KVS, Meeting Points 6, Okwui Enwezor on October 3, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
Of course it was a doll. Life-size. No way anybody could lie there motionless, enwrapped in plastic, in this heat, for hours. But as I looked more closely I noticed the wrapping was moving. Up and down. Very slowly. Yep: it was indeed a living being, on that table.
My one-off weekend award for outstanding performance has to go to the girl re-performing Mona Hatoum‘s The Negotiating Table (1983), for the opening of Meeting Points 6, a contemporary art festival from the Arab world, presented by Argos & KVS (Brussels; through December 18). It is curated by Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst (München), artistic director of Documenta 11 and artistic director of La Triennale (Paris, 2012). MP6 was launched in Beirut and will take place across eight cities. It explores the logics and practices of civic imagination. Missed it? The Negotiating Table will be performed again during a special marathon on December 3, with performances at Argos and KVS. I wonder if it will be the same girl. Oh, and if you hear someone singing This is propaganda when you’re visiting the exhibition; yep: it’s by Tino Sehgal. Him again.
Last time one of Richard Prince’s pictures was shown in Brussels (in October 2009), it made headlines everywhere: his ‘version’ of a picture of a naked Brooke Shields was just banned at an exhibition at the Tate in London, whereas the Botanique received no complaints at all for the same picture (article here). These days the art world is once again talking about Richard Prince, because of an important copyright lawsuit (NYT article here). So let’s just say: even though Prince’s art might not be your thing, his first solo exhibition The Fug (a reference to sixties band The Fugs) at Almine Rech Gallery (Brussels, through November 5) is a show that deserves your attention. Prince is often pinned down by just one word: appropriation. One of Belgian artist Luc Tuymans’ favourite words too. ‘Borrowing’ images and making them yours, by adapting them in one way or the other. At Almine Rech you’ll discover a couple of examples of the series Prince is known for: his black and white Joke paintings, his Girlfriends, and his sculptural Hoods. Funny detail: if you’ve been to Needcompany’s The Art of Entertainment, then you will notice that they’ve used the same cannibal joke Prince has.